~* Within Temptation *~
A/N: This was written in May of last year, yet aside from showing it to friends I've never posted it anywhere. Initially an H&C fiction, I changed it to an original work of mine before returning to the source as the characters demanded it. Hopefully you'll enjoy it. :-)
-A Portata di Tentazione-
She rages in the dark, rages in the north, rages on and on forevermore.
She rages within me.
I feel her beating, inside of me, familiar rhythm, in and out... in and out. Every time she starts again, a never-ending realm of heart and beat. She is one with me.
I love her more than I had ever known I was capable of. And even when she cries; even when she falls to the floor and burns with fever, or anger, or both, I cannot help adoring the fury, the wrath, the angel. She is immense, and is not aware of it. She fills me whole.
She sometimes freezes when she walks to me. Her steps are even and controlled, and then, within the very same timeframe, she stops, and everything has gone to hell again. She can't hold her ground then, and she falls. She wants to be strong, this deep roller does. I love her for her strength and her unyielding spirit, her efforts to always try. But she will always fall.
Fall and fall and roll over in the sky. Dancing in the shades of passing clouds like rain in the fog, a stupendous sight. It is only comparable to when she is dancing. With me, with herself. With the music as her partner, with the music as her guide. Sometimes she guides the music, and I do not play for her, but she makes the music play for her. And it is beautiful.
She dances now and she touches the sky. Sometimes when she does that, the sky begins to open. I can see it out of the corner of my eye, slowly, the world comes to ruin. It happens when she forgets herself in anguish, in pain, but also in music, in art, or in heavenly sex. I still can't comprehend all of her, and I know well that I might never be able to predict her, this bird's next song. She will always sing a bit higher or lower than me. In perfect harmony with me. It is how it is meant to be.
On cold wings she dances, and moves through the welkin. I watch her and see the sun clothe her in its rays of colour like a painter would. You cannot capture her beauty, but oh you can see it. Oh yes. She is beautiful the way a storm is: the way in which an artist can draw parallels between a dream and a nightmare, she dances always on the very edge of pain and sanity, of bliss and oblivion. She is always dangerous, but never on the surface, and even when she burns, she is ever cold.
Only I can make her breathe fire. And I take great pride in knowing I can make her love in the same way as I love, and hate in the same way I hate, and some of the times I believe I can make her watch in the same sense as I do her.
Regard with gentle pose her rarity. See how she shoots her smile off like a gunshot, how she moves her hands down her body like a blind woman might when she dances. Her eyes are sometimes fresh as a child's, other nights old as the trees in the ground. And when she rages, the sky becomes black as the night, and she takes all life away from me.
It is I who taught her this. I who taught her how to smell like the wolves, breathe like the gods and take in all life around her as though to consume it. I have made her a god but I have not done it on my own. She helped me. She helped me, becoming what she is now, as she opened all the doors I helped her to find. And she was always so very eager to learn.
Bright little Starling. She is sterling now, and every glimmer in the heavens, every star is a tribute to her exquisiteness. I know this, because I know God, and I know He is jealous that I have her, that I have she who is perfection in every sense of the word.
Even when she cries at night. Even when she bewails my hungry claws and endless hunger. Even at the times when she despises the walls that she has willingly pulled up around her, around us, to hide ourselves from the world. Sometimes she hates the barriers, as every young fledgling would. She doesn't yet realise it is not another cage she is living in. That this is freedom, as clear and crisp as she'll ever taste it. But unaccustomed to it as she is, I know it will be a while before she can recognise the scent, the taste, the feel of it as I can. I've had eleven years of practice since escape from my incarceration. She, three full years.
And it is not enough.
Sometimes she embraces the newly discovered darkness of her being like the warmth that she was never able to find in her younger life. Sometimes, she sees our love not as warmth, but as the disease that has destroyed everything for her. Sometimes, the shadow in her mind grows mad, and that is when I watch her most.
She breaks glass, shatters it between her fingers, crushes it in her closed fists. "Hannibal," she whispers; it is an omen, a secret whispered into her by the heavens, and hers to give me. She adores it as I do her and she speaks it in hushed tongue, in whimpers, all the time.
"Pain." That word is also a statement to her. Ever since we came together – I call it that, coming together, as she is the storm above my sea, the surface of the sun reflecting in my water, my sunshine – pain is her daily companion. It is because she cannot yet accept what is her now... what we are. It is pain to her only because she doesn't recognise it for herself. She has built a cage around her heart and happily lives in oblivion of it. But it aches still, and that is why she hurts, even if she does not know.
Perhaps her dancing will be the key. She must release herself somehow: I can only guide her, through words and sweetness, through probing and deliverance. I am not her God, though she'd like to think so. I cannot grant her the pardon she longs to hear, to know.
She went mad, as I became sane, because of our union. She became the storm and I her eye. And yet it is the same with me. It might be intriguing to talk about it with her some time. One day. After all, this rage can't last forever. No one cries forever. No one can dance in fire eternally and not get burned. It goes against the laws of nature and very life.
For the leaves fall, the skies turn into grey, and even the sun has go to rest sometimes.
Slight shivers of azure, saffron and crimson hue cripple the indigo expanse of space. Aurora borealis yawns, it is a new day and I, I dance in the shadows of the forlorn night. The world is open and free above me, and at the breach of morn... I can dance my way to it.
Within the rift of heaven the sky is open, and I have to find my way to that place... for me, it resembles peace. If I just dance long enough; concentrate enough on the moment, this very moment, and the dancing, not the time or the place then maybe... Maybe, I will rise from the ground and find that peace I long for so. And be taken away from here. Find my solace.
But my madness keeps me to the ground... every time. I don't know why but he keeps me here. Always here, and then my longing for his touch overtakes all other and I forget.
I hate that I want him, I hate it because it binds me to him and I never wanted that, ever. I deserve to be free, I've been trapped long enough... can't he understand that? Can't he let me go?
But when he touches me my skin turns to dust, or water... I dissolve, and his fingers are the ripples in the liquid that my body has become. Creating a whirlwind with his fingertips, his whispers, his very presence. And then I forget myself, and it is just him and me and nothing, nothing else.
I am a fool in a lover's cloth and I go where my madness takes me.
The night keeps closing in on the day and I am in his arms again, whimpering.
As though he is my calling. Is he? He calls me Clarice, and sometimes, when feeling particularly forward, Ire, iron sulphide. Between iron and silver. I think too much. Why must I feel this way? Not a single night is the same, and yet my hand breaks glass every single eve as though to try and break a thing unseen. Am I?
I am raging... Chasing fading fantasies like shadows in the dark, lightning in the fog. Darkness in a black night, when all light has been corrupted and absorbed by the night's eye. The reflection of the moon the only beacon in a sea of blackness. And this night cloaks me, night in night out, as I make love to it. Sweet, angst-ridden, bitter love in a bed of insanity.
There is no trust, there is no love, there is only hate and betrayal. And the all-ruling desire that conquers all. And the shadow inside my mind grows mad.
I bite down upon the linen cloth blanket wrapped around my shivering body, my trembling form against his. He sleeps soundly, not a care in the world nor a cloud in his sky. No screams. He is not as he seems. His world is a perfect crystal stone. Multi-faceted, every bit as splendid as the other, but cold and unbreakable, insane, like fire over ice. And each and every eventide I walk into a night that has no eyes.
Why must I feel this way? I wasn't always like this. I wasn't happy before, but I was... sheltered, somehow. Safe.
I don't feel safe now. I feel as though my breath is burning in my throat constantly and it makes it so hard to breathe. And I just want to cut it out my skin, this flaming sensation, if that would help any. I feel as though, my skin is burning loose... as though his eyes could make me let him win.
Oh Hannibal, you're dangerous. Oh so dangerous. And not because you are heartless, or cruel, or brilliant bordering on the brink of madness. Not because you are, as society labels you, an outcast, a monster, a madman. Fallen into exile. All of the above. But I guess what should frighten me most is that you were able to turn me into madness... to turn me into you. But no matter.
What frightens me, is that I blame you... I blame you, for making me want a chance to control you. To own you like a dog. To control you, and make you want me, no, need me as I do you.
I dance because I don't know how else to let the burning stop. Even when you make love to me your eyes never look at me and when they do, it's as though they're looking for something in my eyes that isn't there. What must I give you, my love? What isn't there now that you should feel the need to see? Love? You must know there is! Trust? But how can I trust you if you don't trust me?
In the beginnings of morning I walk bare-footed onto the beach, damp sand slithering between my toes, my hair caught in the morning breeze and my eyes half-closed against the wind and the coarse powder it picks up from the beach, cutting through the air into my face. The perfect wake-up call, I tell you. Who needs an alarm clock when you have the ocean at your bidding?
I take a swim first; my body has to be completely soaked before I can perform my task. It has become a morning ritual over the years, much like my jogging used to be. I need to dance... it keeps me more sane than drawing breath during the day. When around him.
Dancing on the tidings and the wind is a comfort because their grip embraces me much like his arms do in the night-time, and yet the dance is also to free myself from that grasp, from that hold he has on me. I sometimes believe if I just try hard enough, I will find the answer and then I can go home. Find peace. Finally. I am so tired, too tired to know for certain any longer. I haven't slept well in over three years, frightened, always. Pained.
I sometimes feel as though, my nails will fall off of my fingertips if I don't try and crush him, scrape him, hurt him somehow. My pain is overwhelming, my need for him transcends all else and it frightens me, because it makes me feel trapped. Unsafe. Cold.
I feel as though the pain could crush my body... and I want him so badly that it's driving me insane. I can't sleep, I can't dream. No screaming, but no rest either. I turn him away sometimes... on some nights I just need to be alone. Or so I say. And he takes the warmth with him even as he places the blanket back over my shoulders. I shiver, but not of fear. He laughs and it makes me want to hurt him.
And it's killing me, to know just what he means when he says that... "None of this means much to me. Be as you are, be as free as you wish to be. Find whatever solace you're looking for in that flirt with the ocean and the dawn. It won't warm you... I will."
When he says that... it makes me want him more. He goes away and my body cries, aching for him, but I do not call out to him. After all, he is the cause of my pain. It is even more difficult to sleep without him next to me sometimes... but he will often play the piano in the room next door where he makes his bed for the night, and the calming effect of the melody will often soothe me to sleep.
Of course I tell him none of this. Everything would be so much easier if he just wasn't so damn stubborn. If everything wasn't always so very difficult. To be around him, to not be around him... every day is a struggle, and every day I feel a little more trapped, even when he holds me and whispers gently in my ear that all I have to do is just let go.
And yet I blame *him* now, for everything. Not my father, as I did before. Not my obtrusive family substitute, the F.B.I., and the life they took from me. Him.
And oh I do blame him... for making my body scream. When he touches me, when he walks away from me, when he talks his old way out of the deepness. When he takes the night and darkens his eyes with it, blocking my vision from what I really need to see in him. When he takes my hand and kisses it, palm up, face down, and I know it is a smile mocking his features, trying to fit where it doesn't belong, mocking his face and my outstretched hand, because he thinks he knows all of me.
I blame him for making me cry and crush the glass every night. I blame him when I call out to him at night and have him make love to me. But most of all I blame him when he watches me, watches me dance, and then tells me he doesn't care.
But I have to be ready for him one day. One day... one day, we must dance together.
One fine day, the sky *will* open and he must be there to hold my hand.
The sun is rising. She is on the beach, I in my bathrobe at the open window. The morning colours the horizon a dark shade of carmine and aureate, a dance of peach and coral, and suddenly I am reminded of our first night together.
I lick my lips, the tongue comes out, as I taste vellum lingering in its aftertaste. Licking the envelope, a wicked pleasure just for me. The letter is for her. But she won't read it yet. All in good time, as they often say.
She dances on the beach in the shadows and pale luminescence of the morning. Her hands make patterns in the air surrounding her, cloaking her. For this is what she does, cloaking. Ever and always. Ever since the first night. She is afraid to lay bare to me. Stark and stained, it cannot be for her. It frightens her. I have made her mad.
I have made her hard.
But in dancing, she finds her control. The power she wishes she had over me. Every movement she makes is a statement of that control over every muscle, every sinew.
It is why she wants to see me watch her dance, as a matter of fact. She doesn't know it... but despite it all, despite her contradictions and complexity, what she wants from me is quite clear. She wants me to join her dance, and with that, join with her. Because she thinks it will grant her control. And she also thinks that will make her free. Open.
She is indeed, a fool dancing in a lover's cloth. But a fool is also the one to follow her and I do. I cannot help myself. She takes all breath from me... especially when she dances.
Every other time a gesture flows out of her, and another, again and again. First, her hand drifts upward, reaching, then stretches slowly in a movement, a dance with itself.
Then her other arm joins in, and they sway around one another, those delicate hands... never touching, but still very much an allied dance. They form a flower on the stem of her arm, a pond in the rounding in her lap, a tree in the empty air, filling it up with the patterns, the images she weaves using her hands as instruments.
She makes the music, the magic radiating from the place where she dances. Much like when she ran and I watched, there where she dances is a light spot, as though it is a stage and she the lead player. She moves in the light as though it were water, all but weightless. It is resplendent.
She floats in the ray of light the early morning allows her, and as she dances she becomes the morning. The essence of the universe. I hold my breath, waiting. And then I walk to her.
I find myself searching for her footsteps in the sand, and placing my own feet on top of the imprints of her presence there. Not to erase them, which would be like denying her presence, but rather to become as much as she is, right in this moment, as I possibly can. To walk the same line as she, to even the same sand as she has. And then... I stand next to her.
She is still dancing, unaware of me. This is her game, and if I am to interrupt I have to play by her rules... which means I have to wait until this dance is over, before I can step in to claim her hand for the next.
My bird has trouble sleeping sometimes. Whether it's because I lay beside her or because a new herd of sheep is howling in her dreams I do not know. She refuses to tell me, and I sometimes get angry. The moon howls at me, and Clarice decides then that she needs to sleep alone. Though she doesn't find her rest... whether I lay next to her or not.
She reminds me then of Count Keyserlingk, who was often sickly, and thus had sleepless nights. He'd often ask Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, who was being instructed by the great master Bach in music, to play something for him so that he could sleep at last.
The Count then said to Bach one day he should like to have some clavier or keyboard pieces for his Goldberg, of a soothing and yet also lively character, which might cheer him up a bit in his restless nights. Bach opted on variations to satisfy the Count, which he'd considered an ungrateful task up until that time, since the fundamental harmony is constantly the same. And yet, the Count thereafter called them nothing but his variations. He never got tired of hearing them, and whenever at night he could not sleep, he used to say: "Dear Goldberg, do play for me one of my variations."
And I will do that for my Clarice, at night, whenever she is unable to sleep or unwilling of my company. A variation to soothe, to tease, to entertain, and even to mock, until I am certain the little whelp has gone to sleep. She is such a child in ways... and I'd like to spoil her endlessly, if only she'd let me.
Perhaps now is the time to break through the cuirass and let myself in. She cannot block me out forever. And as the dance ends, I look at her closed eyes, her hair swaying on her shoulders, and suddenly I know she will let me, dance with her, this day.
"Clarice." A breeze, an indication of my presence, and she cannot hide the smile to creep onto her features. She stops; her hands come down from where they were moving in the air, and looks at me expectantly. "Hannibal." Not a whimper this time, not a call. This is her territory. She smiles openly now, and I feel the sun on my face a little more pronouncedly.
As I take her hand, and our fingers intertwine, I hear the first of Bach's Goldberg variations begin to play. A theme quite appropriate for the events of today. Let us see how things work out for us. For games often turn serious, and this is a dangerous game.
Let us dance in the shadows and sand and find out.
A/N: However unfinished this story may appear, for me it was necessary to leave them there, hands clasped, eyes locked on each other, ready to dance. For me, the step towards discovery was what I wished to portray, the epiphany of choosing to come together... not the coming together itself.
I'm sorry if this leaves you feeling unsatisfied. I've tried to write more to this, but it never seems to come. Hannibal and Clarice demand I leave it off here, and who am I but to obey the characters I wish to write?